Fantasy NASCAR Picks-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte

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Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte

The Changes

  • Restrictor Plate: In modern NASCAR we’ve only seen these implemented at Talladega and Daytona to slow down the cars. In the 1960s and 1970s, plates were implemented everywhere because the safety of the cars could not keep up with the speed, and deaths were becoming a far too common occurrence. The prediction is that the cars will max out with an average lap of 164 mph. That’s very slow. For example, Mike Harmon was the slowest car in Xfinity practice last fall and he ran a 167 mph lap. He was 15 mph slower than the Xfinity leader. Just think about that for a second (thank Fake Larry Gunselman in the slack chat for the Mark Harmon reference). Let’s pretend we are over exaggerating. Let’s be conservative and add 10 mph to the cars. That’s still very slow for a Cup car. These cars will be full throttle around the track and equally maxed out at the same speed. This looks like plate race.
  • Air Ducts: The nose of each car that has been fitted with air ducts that suck up the draft of the lead car. This actually worked on the long straight aways at Indianapolis. I don’t see how it will hurt this weekend. If the lead car is maxed out and running into a wall of air, and the trailing car is maxed out but running through less air, the trailing car could, dare I say, “slingshot engage” in the straight away and trioval.
  • The 2014 Spoiler: This should increase drag in the lead car, and slow it down. At the same time, if a trailing car is close enough, they will experience less air resistance.

The Possibilities and The Plays

  • If this race turns into a plate race, then you know the drill. Play the drivers in the back. These will be the drivers that qualify poorly and the drivers that win a spot in the race via the 6pm Open race. In theory, we should get lower ownership on these drivers because we won’t know until an hour before if they are even participating in the race. On the other hand, the DFS community is nothing but degenerates, and they will be sitting by with their phone or PC, ready to plug these guys into their lineups. That being said, it’s only a 21 car field. It’s a plate race for $1 million; we’ve never seen anything like this before. Half of the field could easily wreck out. If half of the cars wreck out, then at least half of the drivers in the back will wreck out. You do not have to limit your lineup to only drivers in the back. You need six guy that finish. (note: remember the trick of the Clash race – the car that starts last has a 23 point floor and the highest ceiling).
  • The cars might handle poorly or the lack of speed makes it impossible to pass. This race could turn into a single file follow the leader race. We’ll need the driver that leads the most laps, and that will likely be the top qualifier, but pit road strategy could throw that off. I would want place differential, too. There are four stages. That means at the very least, four restarts in 100 laps. We should see a lot of movers and losers. Stenhouse is nearly guaranteed a top 5 or a DNF.
  • The return of tandem drafting. This scenario might be the least likely, but we have no clue. The Cup cars are shaped in a manner that tandem drafting is difficult at Talladega and Daytona, but that’s not the complete story. The regular spoiler at plate tracks makes tandem drafting difficult. The cars are too loose. The cars will be glued to the track this weekend because they are traveling so slow. At the projected speed, tandem drafting will be fairly easy to accomplish even between separate manufacturers. Of course, we could see the Fords working together. If this is the case, then I would approach the race like a typical plate race.
  • Nothing changes. Then play the drivers that have been good at intermediate tracks this season. With only 100 laps, I would roster A LOT of the front row. Let’s say the 1st place driver runs away with it, it’s possible that the second place driver could be in the optimal lineup based on finishing position alone.
  • Pack racing could be crazy. Google “IndyCar at Texas or Fontana.” You’ll see what happens when cars are maxed out at intermediate tracks. Stock cars will not be able to dart around like open-wheeled cars, but four wide in the trioval will happen. The cars will be even, so the drivers won’t really be able to complete passes. It will probably lead to drivers aggressively taking spots as opposed to earning spots. This would be an absolute wreckfest.
  • One last rumor… Supposedly Jimmie Johnson’s car maxed out at 155 mph in a secret test session. If that’s the case, then this is a slow motion plate race. The question that pops into my mind, at 50 mph slower that Talladega, what’s the probability of wreck avoidance? Obviously, if you’re the next car in the draft you’re troast, but if you hang back a little, then you can easily slow to under 100 mph, and miss the wreck. With all of the stages and possible cautions, there will be plenty of wave arounds and lucky dogs. Hanging in the back and losing laps won’t hurt. I am starting to wonder if drivers will even need to pit for tires. They’re running 155 mph at night for 100 laps and at at least 15% of those laps will be yellow. Fresh tires could be an advantage on the restart, but by the time they hit the back stretch, they will all be maxed out in speed, and won’t need the grip of fresh tires at 155 mph. So many questions.

After practice, we should have a very good idea of which scenario will play out. After the first stage of the All-Star Open Race (6pm), we will absolutely know which scenario will play out.

Seems easy right? How about this curveball. It’s supposed to rain in Charlotte everyday until MEMORIAL DAY. Yeah, two weeks of rain. The drivers might enter this race with ZERO practice laps.